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State of the area: U.S., N.Y. politics as partisan, detrimental as they appear

The partisan politics of Washington are as bad and gridlocking as they look, and the governor’s politics in Albany are crippling the finances of our school district and endangering our children’s education. These were the two major messages received by about 50 area residents last week during the annual State of the Area event sponsored by the Greater Cazenovia Area Chamber of Commerce.

Fenner town board holds 2015 organizational meeting

The Fenner Town Board last week held its first meeting of the new year, during which the board made its annual organizational appointments.

Cazenovia Town Board makes annual appointments

During its first meeting of the new year, the Cazenovia Town Board last week approved its annual organizational appointments for the town government as well as attended to regular business.

Great Decisions discussion group begins Feb. 5

The public is invited to participate in “Great Decisions 2015,” a discussion group about U.S. foreign policy sponsored by the Cazenovia League of Women Voters. The group will meet for eight weeks on Thursdays through February and March. The first meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 5, in the Cazenovia Public Library reference room.

Nelson sets public hearing for Georgetown ambulance district agreement

Board reassures public that ambulance coverage has not changed, only the districting aspect is new

The Nelson Town Board last week approved three resolutions regarding their intention to create a new Georgetown ambulance district in the town of Nelson: one to pay for the 2015 contract with the ambulance service, one to amend the rate of pay for district residents and one to set a public hearing about the proposed coverage contract. Town Supervisor Roger Bradstreet also said he wanted town residents to be clear that this proposed contract does nothing to change the ambulance service currently received in the town, it merely creates a new ambulance district to allow the Georgetown Ambulance service an avenue to recover its rising operational costs.

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Village board moves forward with proposed Creekside Development District law

A few village residents in and around the Riverside Drive/Chittenenago Creek corridor, which the village board is currently looking to rezone to help future development, had some concerns about the proposed zone change legislation currently pending before the village but, overall, they did not outright oppose the law at last week’s public hearing on the issue. Mayor Kurt Wheeler said the law’s wording needs to be “tightened up” and “clarified,” but otherwise the village’s efforts to help potential development in the creekside area are moving forward.

Cazenovia area municipal board meeting schedule for 2015

Here are the board and committee meeting schedules for the four Cazenovia-area municipalities

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U.S. Rep. Hanna sworn in for new term, issues 2014 year-end report

U.S. Representative Richard Hanna last week was sworn in to serve a third term in Congress. He issued a year-end report as part of his ongoing commitment to transparency and accessibility to the citizens of upstate New York.

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State gives more than $1 million in grants to Cazenovia-area businesses

Four Cazenovia-area businesses last week were awarded more than $1.8 million in state grant funding by the New York State Regional Economic Development Council. The funds will go towards the creation of a new Cazenovia hotel, the expansion of an existing Cazenovia vineyard, the expansion of a Cazenovia restaurant and inn and the transformation of a commercial building in Nelson into an agri-tourism-based destination.

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School board, district looking to regain lost state funding through advocacy push

In the past five years, the Cazenovia Central School District has lost $6.2 million dollars in state aid, due to the way the state legislature and governor divvy up money at budget time using the state’s Gap Elimination Adjustment program. Cazenovia has survived the low funding coupled with increased unfunded state mandates by cutting programs and staff, increasing the district tax levy and using up its reserve funds. But now, coming into the school year 2015-16 budgeting process, Cazenovia is nearly out of money with nothing left to cut.

Town planning board closes public hearing on Owera Vineyards’ proposed event building

After a two-hour public hearing to discuss the proposed new 6,300 square-foot events building by Owera Vineyards on its East Lake Road land, the Cazenovia Town Planning Board closed the public hearing on the issue, which means a decision by the board on whether or not to approve the application must be made within the next two months. The hearing was similar to many of the previous public hearings on Owera’s proposals during the past year with East Lake Road neighborhood residents voicing concerns over the winery’s noise, lighting, traffic and hours of operation. There were, however, a few new points and facts brought up at the planning board’s Dec. 4 meeting — including the news that Owera owner Peter Muserlain is currently in the midst of an intellectual property theft lawsuit that potentially could affect, if not disable, his plans for the new winery building.

Village board presents proposed law to change Riverside Drive zoning

The Cazenovia village board last week released a proposed local law to change the zoning of the Riverside Drive/Chittenenago Creek corridor behind the public library in its attempt to improve the undeveloped area.

From the state senate: Support Cell Phones for Soldiers

I have kicked off my seventh-annual Cell Phones For Soldiers collection drive to help our soldiers serving overseas stay connected with their loved ones back home, especially during the holidays. You can support this important cause by donating your gently-used mobile phones to any of my designated collection sites throughout Onondaga County and the city of Auburn. 

Mr. Katko goes to Washington

Congressman-elect shares his thoughts about his coming term

On Nov. 4, voters in the 24th Congressional District sent a resounding message: they no longer wanted Dan Maffei to represent them. Maffei, a Democrat, lost to Republican challenger John Katko, a former U.S. Attorney, by a margin of 73,317 votes to 55,268. Katko said he wasn’t necessarily surprised by the victory. “We were going door-to-door for the last couple of weeks of the campaign … and we were getting a pretty good response,” he said. “I just felt the momentum, so I wasn’t surprised that we won.”

Nelson tax rate to increase 9 percent next year

Nelson residents will see their taxes increase by 9 percent in 2015, due mainly to the town’s need to update its fleet of highway department trucks and the costs that will be associated with that action.

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